Can I give my trustee specific instructions relating to substance abuse?

Sadly, drug and alcohol addiction is nearing epidemic proportions in Anaheim and throughout the United States. Addiction is a problem that knows no boundaries. It affects the young, the old, the rich, the poor, and the educated and uneducated alike. As you create your estate plan, consider including specific instructions in your trust for beneficiaries of living trusts that are entitled to the distribution of assets. It may benefit the beneficiary, and the trust as a whole, to withhold payments to the addicted beneficiary until he reaches a point of recovery.

Six Instructions Relating to Beneficiaries With Addiction Issues

A wonderful benefit of using a living trust when you create your estate plan is that you can include specific instructions for your successor trustees—to accomplish your goals or guard against your concerns. These instructions are an excellent tool when you are concerned about possible substance abuse issues affecting one or more of your beneficiaries. Following are six examples of instructions that can be used in these cases:

  1. Give the trust instructions to withhold distributions to any beneficiary suffering from substance abuse.
  2. Instruct the trustee to make distributions only for the health, education, maintenance, or support of the beneficiary suffering from the addiction.
  3. In the alternative, instruct the trustee not to make distributions of any kind to the beneficiary dealing with substance abuse.
  4. Consider including guidelines to help the trustee make the determination as to whether a beneficiary is deemed to be suffering from a substance abuse problem.
  5. Include instructions for when the distributions to the beneficiary should resume or begin once he has been in recovery for a sufficient period of time.
  6. Instruct the trustee specifically to make distributions to pay for rehabilitation centers or other forms of treatment.

As your experienced estate planning attorneys, it is our job to introduce you to all of the options that are available to you, including the use of trustee instructions to target concerns over substance abuse issues. View our client testimonials page today to learn how we have helped many other clients create the estate plan that is right for their needs.